The Boulevard at Emirates Towers is home to one of Dubai’s few true concept stores, Mahani. Combining clothing with food and art, Farah Taqi has brought some of the fashion world’s biggest names to the UAE, including Chalayan, Rodarte, Haider Ackermann, Simone Rocha, Meadham Kirchhoff and, most recently, Junya Watanabe.
Since launching his own label, the Japanese designer, Watanabe, has waged war on fashion norms, adopting a minimalist meets avant-garde aesthetic. Watanabe, the protégé of Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo, began his eponymous line under the Comme des Garçons umbrella in 1993, to critical acclaim. His technically challenging, masterfully executed pieces were far removed from typical fashion standards. The designer famously told Dazed & Confused magazine: “I am not interested in the mainstream”, a fact reiterated season after season in his truly remarkable collections.
It is fitting that Watanabe’s collections appear in Mahani, a store that prides itself on selecting exceptional pieces in order to provide a carefully curated range in one stark yet inviting space. The shop design alone is enough to entice – London’s Studio Toogood was responsible for the minimalist concrete and plaster interior, which is finished with touches of powder pink and pistachio green. From Mahani’s in-house bakery to its pop-up installations, Taqi has managed to introduce a breath of fresh air to the UAE’s shopping portfolio, while successfully bridging the gap between art and fashion.
Junya Watanabe’s spring/summer 2014 collection is available now at Mahani Dubai.